One Year

A year ago, I was in a precarious emotional state.  I was three months out of an “Intensive Outpatient Program” after having been in about as deep a depression as I’ve ever been able to conceive.  I was feeling better, but not exactly well.

I came to work everyday, despairing about the job that lay before me, my only solace coming from the fact that I knew no one would be watching what I was doing. I came to work and I did the bare minimum of what I had to do and spent the rest of my time playing various and sundry computer games, just waiting for the day that someone would come to my door and tell me that IT had noticed the inappropriate use of company assets and that I was fired.  I imagine a part of me hoped for that.

One day, K mentioned that she’d started a blog.  It was a secret blog and to this day, I haven’t seen it, but it started me thinking.  I started searching the internet for blogs and started reading a few.  Finally, I decided that maybe a blog would be a good idea.  Lord knows I have time on my hands.  Lord knows I like to write.  Lord knows I’ve got things to say that no one wants to hear.  I might as well say it to a blog.

At the same time, I was struggling with my own identity and sadly this struggle has been an on-going theme in my blog posts.  I had been working with my therapist, Deb, for awhile about my sexual identity and the fact that it had been so difficult for me to accept that I’m gay.  I was coming to terms with it and things were getting easier, but I still had a lot to think about and deal with… Who am I kidding?  I still do.  But I was coming up on my 33rd birthday and I was determined to stop hiding (in many ways) and start living my life.  And so I decided that my blog would be, at least part of the way for me to stop hiding and start living.  With that in mind, I guessed the blog had to start at the beginning of this story.  What follows is the very first blog post I ever wrote.  Some of it, is somewhat embarrassing and I contemplated editing it before re-posting it, but in the end, I decided to stick to my honesty policy.  Some of my personal, real life friends never knew about the original blog (which was not Riggledo) and this will be a first for them.  I’ll try and keep my mortification to a minimum.

So without further ado…  ‘Cause I can’t think of anything else particularly moving to say, here is the very first blog post I ever wrote:

*Note:  The remainder of this post is at least PG-13.  If that has you worried, please to stop reading here!

The First Day:

Today, as they say, is the first day of the rest of my life. I’m trying to start something new here and I hope it works out. Sometimes I have a lot to say and no one to say it too so maybe this will be the place. I certainly need the anonymity.

I am two days away from my 33rd birthday and I am completely alone and isolated from the world. I’ve spent most of my life dealing with clinical depression but I think I’m coming out of that now. I’ve made the decision to stop taking the medication that I’ve been on for about 5 years, but I know from previous experience that this is not something that you do quickly. The plan I’ve laid out for myself to stop taking the meds has me continuing being medicated until October 31, 2008.

Another reason why I feel that the depression is lifting is that after literally a lifetime of denial and disbelief I’ve finally come to acknowledge the fact that I’m gay. I always have been, and in retrospect I’ve always known it, but it was commonly held that being gay was the most grievous of sins and that there was no chance of happiness (let alone eternal life) if one were gay. I barely dated in high school. Due in part to the fact that I was very unpopular and had very low self esteem. (Still do.) I never felt good enough for anyone else and the one true girlfriend I did have in high school was just rebounding from her previous boyfriend. They ended up getting back together after we took him along with us on a “date” to see the school play. I didn’t have a car, she drove and they dropped me off first. Can you say “writing on the wall”?

I literally only had one other date the entirety of high school. A very sweet girl who I never thought I stood a chance with, but with whom I had shared a “moment” the last week of junior year and so I gave it a shot… It took me 5 months to ask her out and was very surprised to find that she agreed. Being the blithering idiot that I am, I invited her to a concert that was still two months away and didn’t have the presence of mind to ask her to do something before then. By the time the concert rolled around she had a boyfriend and was going with me as a “friend”.  I always wanted a girlfriend but I just wasn’t the kind of guy who bounced from girl to girl and I didn’t have the guts to ask girls out.

Meanwhile, I’d go home after school, pull my “International Male” Catalogs out from under the bed and find a good picture for inspiration while I touched myself. “I’m not gay,” I told myself. “I don’t want to be with one of these guys. I want to be like them.”  I wonder now how common that lie is among the young, closeted, fearful gay community? I DID want to be like them. I wanted to be muscular, and tan and smooth. I wanted to have a full head of beautiful hair (I started losing mine freshman year. Who says God isn’t cruel?) But I also wanted to be loved by them. Taken care of by them.  To make love with them. I wanted to see what was beneath the surface of the bulges in those skimpy bikini bathing suits and thongs on the pages. I of course never admitted any of this to myself back then, let alone anyone else.

I went on to college and decided that this was going to be where my life began. No more being self conscious or embarrassed about myself. I was going to live. I was going to make friends, I was going to date and I was going to find my future wife. My future wife! I happened to go to the same college where my sister was a senior and she and I shared an apartment.  There wasn’t going to be much experimentation there, what with us having been raised in a Christian household and even straight sex was a no-no before marriage.

There was a girl in my sister Erin’s choir that I thought was cute.  Erin said, “She’s sweet. I approve.” So I asked the girl out…she turned me down flat. A bit later I met another girl, Cheryl, also in the choir with Erin. She was also approved of and we did go out a few times. Was never officially called a date and in retrospect I don’t know if Cheryl thought it was, but I was falling hard.

The day before finals week ended, I rear-ended a Ford F-150 with Erin’s Geo Metro. There were no injuries fortunately, but the car was in bad shape and I had to pay for the repairs. As a result, no more college for me. When I realized I wasn’t going to be going back I sent a letter to Cheryl telling her that I wasn’t coming back but that I really enjoyed our time together and would like to maintain our relationship… I never heard from her again.

Shortly after that, I fell for a girl at work, Kerri. We were going to get married, but I didn’t have a car and my employment options were pretty limited. We agreed that I’d leave town for six months and live with my father in Ohio. He had a car I could drive and I’d get a job, save up for my own car and then come home. I was gone about six weeks when she cheated on me. I was devastated and didn’t recover for years… Close to ten I’d say.

In the midst of all these “relationships”, never once did I have sex. Sex! I was horny as could be most of the time. I was a male in his prime years after all… I was also terrified.

What if I did it wrong?
What if I wasn’t any good?
What if she wasn’t satisfied and broke things off with me?
What if I don’t like it? Oh, now wait! Of course I’ll like it! I’m a guy. We’re supposed to love sex. It’s all about the “pussy”, right?

My hand was my best friend… along with my International Male Catalogs.

My fiancé broke up with me when I was 19 years old. About a year later I was hit on by Kimberly, a woman who was funny, attractive and assertive.  I thought it was great! I asked her out, we went on a date, we had fun. I heard from other sources that she really liked me. At the end of that first date, I drove her back home and we stood in her family driveway for a long time just talking and laughing. It was time to leave and I leaned in to hug her (I was a good Christian boy; I didn’t kiss on the first date.) While I leaned in to hug her, she leaned in to kiss me and she won. It was cold, sticky and completely without chemistry. Immediately I started thinking, “I gotta get outta here. How fast can I make that happen?”

We had plans for lunch the next day. I stood her up. I sat in my car at the top of the hill by her house and waited for her to leave and I put a note in her mail-box telling her that she reminded me of my ex and that I thought I was ready but I just wasn’t.  Pretty cowardly… and not very smart considering she knew where I worked (at the mall) and that was where she picked up on me in the first place.

Later I moved to California.  I met a girl randomly through work who made no secret of her attraction to me. I went out with her once and we had a nice time. She wanted to spend the night but I wouldn’t let her. (I was scared.) The second date was a disaster and I never saw her again.

That was 1999. I haven’t been on a date since.

In August of 2001 I was laid off from my job without ceremony. I was given no severance other than the wages I had earned and any unused vacation time. I couldn’t even afford to pay September’s rent. I moved out of my studio apartment in San Francisco, and in with my good friend Michelle, who said she wasn’t letting me move back to Oklahoma, where I’d come from. We shared her one bedroom apartment for nine months before it was obvious I wasn’t going anywhere, anytime soon and her lease was up. We moved into a two bedroom apartment near by and lived together until this past September, two weeks short of six years.

Michelle is a very nice, caring, wonderful person. She’s also damaged in some way. She doesn’t really have any friends besides me and her large family. I don’t understand why. She’s not socially inept and she’s pretty, but she doesn’t have a lot of friends and she hasn’t dated since 1994. In May of 2003, we decided that maybe we should have a “friends with benefits” kind of situation. I wasn’t getting any younger, and at 28 was still a virgin. She wasn’t getting any younger and at 34 hadn’t had sex in 15 years. What the hell, right?

WRONG! I never really enjoyed it. It was never good for me. I could barely feel her except for when she was on top. I had no stamina and she was impossible to please. She didn’t like to “have to do the work” and the only way I could stay with her was if she was on top. I never had the nerve to explain that to her. One night in a drunken fit she got mad because she was always on top, and because for a brief moment I got distracted and lost my erection. I don’t remember what she said, but it was the final straw and I got up and walked out of the room and that was the last time we even tried to have sex. It’s been three years.

The first time we were together, I went down on her, ’cause, ya know, that’s what you’re supposed to do, right? I’d read enough to know that women don’t normally climax very easily with straight intercourse and that the “right” thing to do was to get her going first and then go for the main event. I was only there for a couple minutes, but it was long enough to know that the only kind of pussy I like is the kind with whiskers that purrs and curls up next to me on the couch after he’s eaten his fill of food. The whole experience was disgusting to me and I couldn’t do it again.

Through all this I realized a few things. I didn’t like giving a woman oral sex. I didn’t like looking at her jiggling flesh (boobs, etc.) while she gyrated on top of me.  Having sex with Michelle wasn’t the explosive, all encompassing, thrilling experience that I always thought it would be. Oh and that guy on the train this morning was sexy… Wait, that’s not what I’m supposed to be thinking. But it was. And it still is.

So there it is. I know I’m gay. I know there’s no point in denying it anymore. I’m not just wishing I was like those guys in the catalog, I’m wishing I was with them.  Now that I’ve got that part out of the way, I just have to figure out how I’m going to shed a lifetime of shame and denial and fear. How am I going to make today truly be the first day of the rest of my life? Well, to tell the truth? I don’t know. But come along for the ride and I guess we’ll figure it out together.